Caretaker Federal Minister for Commerce and Industries Dr Gohar Ejaz has announced a new industrial zone spread over a whopping 10,000 acres for Karachi, which will be aligned with international standards.
During his visit to the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) on Saturday, the minister said if his vision of a 10,000-acre new industrial zone in Karachi materialised and exports were taken to $100 billion in the next five years, it would create 3 million new jobs in Karachi alone.
At the same time, the business community can simply triple its earnings, if they play their due role in the accomplishment of targets set by the economic team of the government. “It is a win-win situation.” He offered his full support for taking top economists on board as advisers of the FPCCI to formulate policy recommendations.
He expressed concerns over Pakistan’s economy, specifically the trade deficit, rupee depreciation, low number of active tax return filers, anomalies in Afghan transit trade, reliance on external sources of financing and lack of active participation of the business community in policymaking.
Speaking on the occasion, Punjab Caretaker Minister of Commerce SM Tanveer stressed that the FPCCI should establish a credible, functioning and productive research and development structure, so that federal and provincial governments could incorporate its recommendations into budgetary, industrial, trade, agricultural, monetary, taxation, SMEs and infrastructure development policies.
FPCCI President Atif Ikram Sheikh said the FPCCI had decided to support reform initiatives of the commerce minister vis-a-vis export target of $100 billion in five years, documentation of the economy and stabilising the rupee-dollar parity.
He added that the FPCCI was going to announce its research and development structure in the next 10 days, as his vision was to turn the trade organisation into a top consultative body for the government.
He proposed that the business community should embark on a mission to accelerate Pakistan’s exports through competing effectively, holding single-country exhibitions for major export destinations, diversifying the export basket and creating an effective liaison and consultative process with the government.
He called the approval of a tariff of 9 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for export-focused industries, under the auspices of Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC), a landmark achievement.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2024.